Ahead of the Welsh Conservative debate today (October 14), several concerned businesspeople around Wales have spoken to the party’s Members to have their voices heard. These include:
Andrea Scholl, of café Number 49 in Usk, who said:
“Lockdowns have affected our footfall, and we have seen it drop by 90 percent on some days. We have gone from more than 200 customers a day to as few as 16. Monmouthshire would be better off being in a lockdown to ensure spend stays within our county and so businesses receive the financial support other lockdown regions are getting. With low footfall and lack of support we will be witnessing far more closures than originally expected. “
And Russell Scott Lawson, of Hawkes Bespoke Outfitters in Cardiff, who said:
“It would be almost impossible to exaggerate the damage being done to businesses in Cardiff and smaller cities and towns up and down Wales because of the lockdowns. After seven months of lockdowns, many retail and hospitality businesses across all sectors will be lucky to survive into the New Year if town and city centres are not reopened, or the lockdowns are radically altered. Altering them could include the ‘hyper-local’ lockdowns based on smarter data that Andrew RT Davies and his Welsh Conservative colleagues have repeatedly called for.”
Also speaking to Welsh Conservatives was Adam Williams, whose Tir Prince Leisure Group owns several attractions in North Wales, including Llandudno Pier. He said:
“Tir Prince Leisure Group has around 1,000 direct/indirect employees on its sites during the season, and this season, which was cut by months, is effectively over. We cannot exist relying only on customers from within our county; there just isn’t enough customers to spread out over so many other in-county attractions, especially now that the good weather is pretty much likely to be gone for the year. Lockdowns have had a terrible effect on our business, and I really have to wonder why we either don’t have lockdowns done on a very localised basis, rather than county-wide, or let people from one locked-down county travel to another one, but not, I repeat not, from Covid hotspots.”
Russell George MS – the Shadow Minister for Business – said:
“The phrase ‘tipping point’ is used a lot these days, and for businesses across Wales – and Andrea, Russell, and Adam are just three voices out of thousands – that’s exactly where they are: it’s almost a now-or-never situation for them.
“The Welsh Labour-led Government has had seven months to plan how to support businesses that have suffered the significant adverse impact of local coronavirus restrictions, and Wales is still waiting for a plan.
“And that’s why today we will emphasise
- The need for Coronavirus restrictions that impact upon employers to be proportionate
- That Business Rate Relief should be extended to businesses with a rateable value more than £500,000 and to landlords who are unable to let vacant commercial properties
- The necessity of waiving the 10-percent investment requirement to access grants under Phase 3 of the Economic Resilience Fund and
- that data on the number of positive Covid-19 tests on a local authority ward basis are published, and that hyperlocal lockdowns are used to combat the spread of this virus.
“We believe that these measures, and others we are to propose today, will help Wales’s economy come out of this crisis better, while protecting livelihoods and lives.”